The true face of Israel’s bombardment in Gaza is revealed by the testimony of the soldiers themselves.
Killing innocent civilians, wanton destruction, a hatred of Arabs.
These are the actions of a truly democratic state?
Aviv: “I am squad commander of a company that is still in training, from the Givati Brigade. We went into a neighborhood in the southern part of Gaza City. Altogether, this is a special experience. In the course of the training, you wait for the day you will go into Gaza, and in the end it isn’t really like they say it is. It’s more like, you come, you take over a house, you kick the tenants out and you move in. We stayed in a house for something like a week.
“Toward the end of the operation there was a plan to go into a very densely populated area inside Gaza City itself. In the briefings they started to talk to us about orders for opening fire inside the city, because as you know they used a huge amount of firepower and killed a huge number of people along the way, so that we wouldn’t get hurt and they wouldn’t fire on us.
“At first the specified action was to go into a house. We were supposed to go in with an armored personnel carrier called an Achzarit [literally, Cruel] to burst through the lower door, to start shooting inside and then … I call this murder … in effect, we were supposed to go up floor by floor, and any person we identified – we were supposed to shoot. I initially asked myself: Where is the logic in this?
The UN’s Richard Falk has concluded that war crimes were committed in Gaza.
The Israeli army is the most moral in the world, and I know what I’m talking about because I know what took place in the former Yugoslavia, in Iraq. Of course there may be exceptions which are being talked about, and everything that has been said must be looked into.
This is not the case of a few bad apples. In fact, the soldier’s testimony clearly states that the rules of engagement were to cause maximum carnage.
Israeli writer Bernard Avishai has an interesting take on the revelations in a blog posting titled, “Child Abuse“:
The Israeli press is full of stories, now broadcast around the world, of Israeli soldiers acting ruthlessly in Gaza. In various reported cases, soldiers revealed a cavalier attitude toward the lives of civilians, including women and children; consistently, they used overwhelming force–artillery against rifles in built up neighborhoods, say–to protect the lives of fellow soldiers. We are now hearing, in addition, knowing comments about the rules of engagement and the ethics of war. According to one scholar who helped write the IDF’s code of conduct, a soldier has to “do his utmost” to avoid civilian casualties and that involves taking some risk. “From the testimonies of these soldiers, it sounds like they didn’t practice this norm.”
Let me get this straight. We take tens of thousands of 18 and 19-year-olds, young people who are little more than children themselves, and at a time of life when showing the utmost cool is a kind of sexual ante; a time when ideas about the world are largely received wisdoms; when bodies are at their utmost strength but so is the fear of death, which only reinforces the fear of displaying cowardice; when the people from whom wisdoms are received are parents or mentors loved to the utmost; when minds are just intimidated enough about life’s scrum to feel utmost gratitude for family and commonwealth–when the desire to prove one’s loyalty is at its most intense.
Then we take these youth–for God’s sake, kids who can barely even remember the time of Rabin’s assassination–and tell them that the Arabs, deep down, will never want a Jewish state in the neighborhood; that, in any case, the land is sacred, and giving ground is an utmost sin of Jewish law, as is showing mercy to those who would kill you; that “Oslo” offered Palestinians a deal with utmost generosity, but that they came back with terrorism nevertheless; that (though this much has been obvious) terrorism can come in any form, male and female, young and old; that protecting our civilians from random cruelties is the reason they are there.